The other day I was reflecting on the responsibilities of teachers to maintain a respectable presence in the community. Teacher-candidates are warned about their public appearances. In previous decades that would mean teachers would have to endeavour to be model citizens in their community, or maintain a low profile. Once a person could go home, close their doors, and enjoy their privacy.
With the digital age upon us that is no longer the case. As a professional-in-training in the education sector I’ve become highly aware of the scrutiny new media, but we are not alone. Employers are increasingly using social networks to screen potential employees.
With social media we’ve essentially abandoned much of our privacy. Our identities, broadly speaking, are now publicly accessible. Not to mention our activities, actions and believes are open to scrutiny. I am aware of the irony of this while writing a blog. Something else I find questionable is that we are more profoundly judged on how we interact with one another. In face-to-face interactions we curtail what we say based on who we are speaking with and where we are. How we talk to grandma at church is different than us shooting the breeze with a friend in the hallway, especially our sassy friends.
Social networking, such as Facebook, level the playing field. Posts on your wall, and photographs are completely removed from context. In addition, comments and postings you make are left to separate scrutiny beyond the one-on-one relationship.
A 2009 study from CareerBuilder stated that 45% of employers use Facebook to screen applicants. Does anyone believe this number is lower in 2011? 53% of candidates were excluded due to inappropriate or provocative photos, 29% for poor communication skills. For other factors check out the article, here .
Nearly 3 in 10 are excluded due to poor communication skills on Facebook? Start checking your spelling and grammar folks, because it might count one day soon.
The great fear in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, or one of them, was that someone would be always watching you. Well instead of an all powerful state, or abusive corporations, it’s ourselves who have exposed ourselves to deep scrutiny. Now if you excuse me, I’m going to post this.